DIY: Homemade Mustache Wax

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Well groomed facial hair is the difference between sexy and vagabond.  Check out our 6 steps to making your own and saving a few dollars.

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I look for facial hair on my men like Megan Fox does with tattoos on hers. Listed under her biography within the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), Fox was quoted having said “all [her] boyfriends are required to have [tattoos] and if they don’t, [she] make[s] them get [one] of her name or face”. Similarly, I’m as picky about my guys regarding facial hair. If they don’t sport some variety of it, then I’m not interested anyway.

Although I wouldn’t bother forcing a bare bottomed face to sprout a patch of his own, I am particular about how my man maintains what he’s got. Not only in terms of appearance, but the practical implications of poorly maintained mustaches are considerations too.

Since it sits directly above the upper lip, it’s front and center to many important tasks. Thus it takes on special risks regarding embarrassing residual food, unsavory loose swallowed hair, and vulnerability to skin irritations. These dilemmas often lead mustache wearers, like you, on a bottomless quest for the perfect wax. You’ll spend a pricey penny on inedible chemical based commercial brands, special order items for endless experimenting, or settle for unconventional and inadequate “Jerry-rigged” alternatives. This quest can likely cause a new set of dilemmas regarding a wax’s quality.

Having a self-proclaimed fetish for facial hair, I’m determined to find a solution to this catch-22 of a predicament. It’s hard to watch my man pull a three-inch strand of hair from in-between his teeth. Or have to lend a subtle hint that he’s wearing most of that bite on his upper lip despite his concerted efforts to blindly wipe it out. It’s equally painful for me to see him struggle with a red rash burning bright underneath his bristles, as it is unpleasant for us to kiss with a gob of “soothing” grease between our lips.

My man doesn’t have to have a coiffed handlebar mustache (although style speaks volumes for a facial hair fanatic like me), but he does have to keep his hairy upper lip loveable and cared for. That is why I’ve put in the time and research to write this article.  A tutorial meant to provide mustache wearers with an easy, affordable, nutritional, and universal Homemade Mustache Wax that you can tailor to your specific purposes and needs.

With some help from some contributors on the site, The Handlebar Club, let’s begin by defining what traits make up a quality mustache wax. Then we’ll discuss materials and why they’re important.  Lastly we delve into step-by-step instructions complete with pro tips for you to not just make a great wax, but get the most out of it.

Defining quality mustache wax

Before embarking on the tutorial itself, what factors determine the quality of a good mustache wax?

Styling Strength

This depends on your purposes. For more practical reasons, you might be looking for something that simply keeps the ends in their place. For this a light hold is sufficient. If you want more styling incentive, you might be looking for something that will cater to your personalized shape and appearance. A medium hold is more suitable for that. For specific structural objectives, such as curls or elevation, you might consider a firmer hold. Also, the strength of wax can apply to the development phase of the mustache. A medium to firm hold might be employed to aid in the precision of grooming around the upper lip.

Homemade mustache wax

Regardless of your purpose in strength, however, it is prudent to note that the bushier the beard, the less wax needed. The finer the facial hair, the more wax required. This is because the natural buoyancy of a bushier beard helps provide its own styling support and is only aided by the wax. The downward direction in weight of flatter strands causes the hairs to wholly depend on the wax for its support.

Reapplication and Removal

Like many guys, you probably relish in low maintenance methods.  You want a process or product that is easy and effective without extra manual effort. Mustache wax goes a long way in keeping hairs from dipping into beverages and food, or at least shielding the strays enough to keep them from falling out when dampened. However, many recipes out there use inedible ingredients.  You have to weigh this determinant for yourself. Is it more important to avoid the occasional reapplication after a few beers despite ingesting potentially harmful chemicals? If so, you may fall into the small percentage of men that this recipe’s universal application does not address.

You have to weigh this determinant for yourself—is it more important to avoid the occasional reapplication after a few beers despite ingesting potentially harmful chemicals? If so, you may fall into the small percentage of men that this recipe’s universal application does not address.

Even though the need is small in comparison to similar recipes, and you can adjust the proportions to account for even less reapplication than is already permitted by the formula, the consumption-safe approach does require some reapplication. Keep in mind, however, that reapplication is not just a matter of inedibility. It’s also an issue concerning the skin underneath your hair.

A wax requiring no reapplication, regardless of its ingredients, morphs in usefulness of its protective barrier for your bristles. It becomes suffocating to the skin after a prolonged period of time. The skin will have adverse reactions to a lack of oxygen. Having those intermittent needs for reapplication can provide a much-needed reprieve for your skin to breathe. Also, many of the natural components in this recipe make the removal process simpler than waxes requiring no daily reapplication.

Resistance to Weather
frozen mustache

Some mustache wearers may not be aware of the impact their wax can have in protecting their mustache against the different seasonal elements. You may be pleased to find that two ingredients in this recipe, beeswax and petroleum jelly, work in tandem to keep your mustache’s shape against wind and rain. The beeswax helps with holding structure, while the jelly helps repel water. But there is one important adjustment you must account for when making your batches for both the winter and summer temperatures. Please see the materials listed below for the special note pertaining to this adjustment.

Scent
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Because of its location, a wax’s scent is of imperative importance. Not only do you smell it all day, but those you talk to and touch with it are also affected. “Sense of smell is closely linked with memory, more so than any of our senses,” according to an article on the Fifth Sense. So it’s sensible to assume that a pleasant aroma in your wax makes for a pleasant memory with whomever you interact with intimately. Many recipes focusing on other factors of this list might forfeit scent, while this recipe makes it clear just how unnecessary of a compromise that is, as this wax gives off a delicate fresh floral mixed with the gentle masculinity of mint.

Once you’ve made this recipe several times, making your own alterations for strength, reapplication and weather resistance, you might feel adventurous in experimenting with different essential oils that provide the wax its fragrance. Experimentation is encouraged (especially by small batches), but keep in mind that certain combinations of scents with other ingredients may alter the properties of the wax, causing irritation to the skin.

It’s important that you exercise the upmost caution when conducting such experimentation. And when testing a new scent with your wax, start off with 2-3 drops and wait 30 minutes for the wax to cool completely before deciding to add more drops in consecutive batches to intensify a particular scent. The scent is magnified while the wax is liquid and softens to its finished note when solidified.

Accessibility

Being able to carry your wax with you in a convenient manner is important for purposes of reapplication, but also preservation. For instance, if you have a large batch of wax sitting in a container, it has a greater chance of going rancid without you knowing due to extreme temperatures of the location it’s stored or simply being unused from overstock. Having a fresh pocket-sized tin with you is a great way to ensure your wax and wallet never goes to waste.

Color

It’s a common misconception among many mustache men that the color of your wax must match that of your hair. But this is only true in many chemical-based formulas. A quality wax will have a sheer vanilla to even a yellow color in its container, and dry clear once thoroughly applied to the hairs. The necessity for a tint only derives from use of overly synthetic recipes.

 

Nourishment
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Many waxes completely disregard nourishing benefits. Again, these types of waxes make an unnecessary sacrifice for other competing factors. In fact, some cheaper alternatives that have been employed over name brand products and homemade recipes include toilet bowl seal wax, moisture-less soap, and general hair gels and sprays. But many of these alternatives leave undesirable residues, clog pores or cause skin reactions, and fail to face up to elemental challenges like rain. Even some chemical-based commercial products also cause adverse conditions topically and inwardly in addition to their lack of nourishment.

Price/Availability

Of course, the predominant factor that guides many mustache wax seekers includes price and availability of the product or ingredients. This usually leads people on a path of compromising quality or spending excessively. Some ingredients used to make homemade alternatives may only be available in bulk and specialty stores online. Such ingredients include, but are not limited to, a binder like gum Arabic (which is sometimes hard to track down), paraffin wax (which isn’t difficult to find, but has heating issues and leaves an opaque residue), and resins (which are similar to oils but serve an additional textural purpose, and are difficult to find and integrate).

Upon seeing these items in a recipe, you may tend to spend the extraneous energy preparing with a mess of ingredients for a wax that doesn’t turn out right anyway, or swallow the extra expense on a commercial wax that ends up being inadequate after all. This recipe below uses ingredients that can be easily obtained without taking on special orders and high expenses.

Tutorial

Materials Needed—makes approximately 1.5 ounces

Double boiler
Bowl
1 plastic pipette
1 Pyrex or tin container
2 tbsp. beeswax or soy wax pellets
1 tbsp. petroleum jelly
1 tsp. coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil (both cold pressed)
2-3 drops of tea tree oil

*Winter Wax (wet/cold):   reduce beeswax to 1¾ tbsp, and increase petroleum jelly to 1¼ tbsp.
*Summer Wax (humid/hot): reduce petroleum jelly to ¾ tbsp, and increase beeswax to 2¼ tbsp.
*Reduced Grease: reduce petroleum jelly to ½ tbsp, and replace with ½ tbsp. of shea butter
*Firmer Wax or Reduced Reapplication: reduce amount of jelly, and replace with the beeswax
*Recommended adjustments for specific purposes

Why do these items matter?

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A double boiler is the simplest way to combine the ingredients. You can use any two pots of similar size to create your own double boiler. One pot must fit inside the other without touching the bottom. Because some of the ingredients have a higher flammability than others an electric stove or hot plate over gas is recommended for use of the double boiler.

This flammable potential coincides with limitations in heating temperatures of the different ingredients, which is why a microwave is also not recommended. Alternative methods like crock pots, homemade solar ovens, and candle warmers have several complications, such as undesirable condensation, timely heating or imprecise and difficult setup.

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Pipettes help with measuring and integrating the essential oils if your bottle does not come with a dropper of its own. You can find these at most craft stores, often in the soap-making aisle.

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Use a metal container for the finished product. It can withstand various temperatures versus glass containers, which require certain precautions to prevent shattering during initial fill. I recommend using an emptied Altoids container. However, Pyrex containers are a good alternative.

8beeswax

In addition to the base element that beeswax serves in this recipe, it also naturally remedies ulcers, inflammation, and (with the help of olive oil) certain types of fungal skin infections and rashes, according to a web file, Beeswax, in WebMD’s database. Some people might have allergies to beeswax. Soy wax (made from soybean oil) is a good alternative, as mentioned by Riegler in an online forum. It offers differing but equally beneficial traits of nourishment and helps protect the skin from free radicals, and repair tissue, promoting hair growth.

These waxes add to the stiffness of the finished product and provide strength of the hold. Adjust the proportions to suit your stiffness needs. And while pellets may be slightly more expensive per ounce than the bars, they are much easier to measure and melt. Both waxes are available at most craft stores in the candle-making aisle.

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Petroleum jelly serves as a moisture-resistant seal that protects the skin and hair, but also provides flexibility to the finished product for shaping the mustache. Some men are wary of the grease factor that is associated with jelly. Shea butter can be used in combination to enhance the wax’s application. While shea butter also comes packed with vitamins that target skin sensitivities directly, it could interfere with the beeswax’s strengthening capabilities if substituted entirely for jelly due to its softening effects. You may also have to hunt for shea butter, as its pure form is not as prevalent in stores as jelly is.

10cold_pressed_coconut

Cold pressed coconut or extra virgin olive oil evenly spreads the tea tree oil throughout the finished product, as mentioned in an article from beardsapp.com, while also helping to deliver it to the skin. While coconut oil reduces hair loss and contains anti-aging properties, and olive oil contains anti-inflammatory properties, both oils are antimicrobial. The cold pressed form of these oils maintains their natural, unprocessed qualities so that their multipurpose health benefits are maximized.

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Essential oil, or a fragrance oil, like tea tree not only adds a refreshing earthy mint that compliments the coconut oil, but it’s also used to treat various skin conditions like acne. Interestingly, both coconut oil and tea tree oil help fight dandruff. You can find these oils at most grocery stores. The specific Humco Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil used in this demonstration is available at most Wal-Mart stores.

It’s important to note that this is the basic recipe, and you are encouraged to adjust the proportions to your preferences and needs.

Step-by-step Instructions

  1. Prepare.

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Prepare the double boiler and measurements. Start off with about 2-3 inches of water for the bottom 2-quart pot. Set the double boiler on the burner, but do not turn the burner on yet.

Measure out the wax into the top pot.

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Then measure out the jelly and coconut oil into the separate bowl on the side.

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  1. Melt.

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Set the burner to a low-medium heat. Allow the wax to thoroughly melt. Note that the water should not be boiling at this heat-level, but rather creating a slight steam. Also, make sure to add water to the bottom pot of the double boiler if it evaporates and sinks further than that inch (but you shouldn’t need to do this with a small batch such as this).

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  1. Combine.

Scrape the jelly and coconut oil from the separate bowl into the melted wax. Allow the ingredients to blend naturally as they melt (no stirring). Then turn the heat off.

  1. Fill.

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Pour the heated mixture into the container. Warning: contents will be hot; exercise caution while pouring.

  1. Add.

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Drop the tea tree oil into the mixture. (No stirring required.)

  1. Cool.

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Cool the mixture uncovered for approximately 30 minutes or until completely solidified. Cover after mixture has finished cooling.

Pro Tips

For the best application, use your forefinger and thumb to scoop a desired dollop from the tin, and slightly soften the wax by gently pressing the dollop between your fingers. Start from the center of your mustache, and spread the wax outwards. Use the fine teeth of a comb to evenly distribute the wax throughout your mustache. If the product is too stiff to soften between your fingers, use a hair dryer on the lowest setting for no more than 15 seconds at a time instead.

For easy removal, use shampoo and warm water to rinse the wax from your mustache. If your mustache remains greasy after removal, apply a little bit of heat to your mustache with a hair dryer on the lowest setting. Then rub a teaspoon of olive oil or peanut butter through the hairs. Continue to run this substance through your mustache with a comb. Finish by shampooing and rinsing again.

Written with mustache mania love

Hopefully, I’ve brought to light several factors that you might not have previously considered. But more importantly, I hope to have put an end to that quest by empowering you to make your own quality mustache wax. While Fox’s must-have in her men is the tattoo, mine is the mustache. And unlike her somewhat obsessive approach to this dating qualification, I’ve chosen to channel my manly facial hair fixation constructively. Providing all you mighty mustache men with a convenient, healthy, inexpensive, and basic recipe for a Mustache Wax that you can tailor to your needs.

Finding a wax that addresses issues with both utility and quality can be tough. However with genuine guidance from a lady who’s in love with your guys’ upper lips it’s not just attainable, it’s effortless. And now that you’ve found your perfect DIY Homemade Mustache Wax, there are 5 Mustache Styles You Should Try. If you enjoyed this tutorial, have questions or additional thoughts, please post your comments below.

References:
Christianhope1000. (2015, January 18). Tutorial: How to Make Homemade Mustache Wax. Retrieved June 8, 2016, from https://youtu.be/YY2YDgxn2_g
Internet Movie Database (IMDB). (n.d.). Megan Fox [Data file]. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1083271/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
Jtmcdole. Autodesk, Inc. (2016). Homemade mustache wax. Retrieved June 8, 2016, from http://www.instructables.com/id/Homade-Mustache-Wax/
Organic Facts. (2016). Health benefits of olive oil. Retrieved June 8, 2016, from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/oils/health-benefits-of-olive-oil.html
Organic Facts. (2016). Properties of coconut oil. Retrieved June 8, 2016, from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/oils/properties-of-coconut-oil.html
Sorgen, C. (2016). Tea tree oil treats skin problems. Retrieved June 8, 2016, from http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/tea-tree-oil-treats-skin-problems
SoyaTech. (2016). Soy and health facts. Retrieved June 8, 2016, from http://www.soyatech.com/soy_health.htm
WikiHow. (n.d.). How to melt beeswax. Retrieved June 8, 2016, from http://www.wikihow.com/Melt-Beeswax

 

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Ms. Thompson is a beard aficionado and lover of all things beard. She is married to a bearded man who is currently working on his yeard; and can't wait to provide her opinions on the process. Her and her husband live on their farm with two rambunctious boys and their dog who hasn't figured out how to leave the livestock alone.